Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blog Makeover...Yay!

Don't worry, you're not on the wrong page.  I've just gotten a little makeover.  It's still the same me and the same good old blogging going on here.  Just some fun, fresh new graphics to make you all happy. 

Kim over at 733design re-designed my site and I'd say she did a mighty fine job.  While you're clicking around on my site, be sure sign up as a follower.  I love knowing there are people listening out there.  Hope you all enjoy!


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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beni Ourain Rugs

As you all know by now, I visited the beautiful country of Morocco back in February.  We brought back lots of goodies, but our favorites and most memorable are our new lights (check them out here and here) and our new rugs.  We waited over 4 weeks for the rugs to arrive.  I had my doubts.  There were days that I thought we would never see them again.  But alas, one day we came home to the most beautiful delivery notice on our front door ever.  And two days later we unpacked them, they were in perfect condition and more beautiful than I remembered.  I'm sorry I ever doubted you Moroccan postal system. 

Purchasing a rug in Morocco was one of the most stressful things I've ever tried to do.  There is alot of negotiating involved - making offers and counter offers, drinking endless glasses of tea, looking at figures on calculators.  The Moroccans know what they're doing and they assume you have money since you're an American.  They say things like 'final offer' and 'berber holiday' to try to persuade you into buying.  They're very good.  But, the whole process just made me frustrated.  So frustrated in fact that we almost left without buying one.  That is, until we went to our final destination in the Atlas Mountains.  We ended up finding the most beautiful Beni Ourain rugs right in our Kasbah.  They were all a flat rate, there was no negotiating and they were all crafted in the mountains where we were staying. 

Before traveling to Morocco, I had never heard of Beni Ourain rugs, but now I can't believe I didn't know about these beautiful pieces of art.  They are hand woven by the Beni Ourain people of North Africa and are traditionally a white background with black symbols woven into them.  The symbols are representative of the traditional language, but the most common is the diamond pattern.  While walking around the gardens of our Kasbah, I came across these posts with the same Berber symbols seen in the rugs.  They're really quite stunning.

They're getting so popular that some of the big stores are starting to carry them in there lines.  West Elm just introduced a Moroccan line of authentic carpets and accessories.  They claim they are made in Morocco and based on the prices they probably are.   Anthropologie also offers a Beni Ourain inspired rug, but it appears to be a knock off based on the name.  To see how people are using them in there homes, check out this link from Apartment Therapy.  I just love them!

West Elm:  Found Moroccan Berber Rug
5x7 - $1499.00

Anthropologie:  Flokati Diamond Rug
5x7 - $898.00  

So now that I've got the background out of the way.  Let me show you what we brought home.  We got a long runner for our bedroom level.  It was so hard to find runners the right length and width.  We thought it was a lost cause, and then we found this one.  It was meant to be ours because the dimensions were spot on.  Take a look:

The second one we bought we put in our 4th floor level.  I really wanted it in our living room on the 2nd floor, but the dimensions were off and it just didn't look right.  So we moved it upstairs, and I'm actually thrilled with the way it all turned out.  It contrasts the red wall and the dark floor and the size is great.  It fills our void just right.  Plus, it has a more casual feel which is great for this space.  Here she is:

I love these rugs so much.  Every time I walk on them I get a little happier!  They're so soft and fluffy, but they're not so delicate that you're afraid of spilling things on them.  I think Marley (my dog) loves them even more than I do because I keep finding her snuggled up on them!  Hope you enjoy :)


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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Featured Project!

I am so proud and excited to tell you all that one of my projects has been featured at 235 Designs!  I highly encourage you all to check out Allison's blog.  It's a great one that I follow regularly.

If you don't make it to her site, you can check out my DIY Leaf Art anytime you like.  

Thanks again Allison!


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Easy Art

As you may remember, last week I was on an art kick.  I wasted spent a ton of time on Pinterest getting ideas - you can see all my favorites here.  I had two frames that I wanted to hang in our guest bathroom, both 5x7.  That room was in desperate need of some good art.  So instead of buying new art I decided to take the easy, more affordable route.  I printed out a bunch of images that I found online and framed them myself.  This is probably illegal and violates some sort of copyright rules, but its cheap and easy and everyone likes cheap and easy things......right?  (Hold the hooker jokes please). 

All you have to do is find a few images you like and re-size them using photoshop or a basic photo editor.  Then print, cut, frame and hang.  I printed out about 10 images before i found the right combo.  Some of the images didn't look right enlarged, while others just looked much better on a screen than in a frame. 

Here is what I ended up with:

This was a really fun project.  I would encourage anyone to do it who is working with a small budget but doesn't want to sacrifice design.

While we're on the topic of art, I wanted to show you this cute sketch we've had hanging in our house for a few years now.  A couple years back, while we lived in Cincinnati, at my office Christmas party my husband and I posed for this amazing portrait.  Yes, its of our butts.  My company hired an artist from The Original Buttsketch and apparently all they do is sketch people from the back.  Its a funny concept, but I actually really love this portrait of us.  Mostly because my ass looks great!

I recently got around to getting a mat for this frame.  So now it looks a bit better and I'm no longer embarrassed to show it to people.  I hope to get a few more things for the wall its hanging on to fill out the space a bit more.  Until then, all you get to see is the sketch.

Hope you all have a happy weekend!  Enjoy this glorious weather :)


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bloggin Bud

I got an exciting email yesterday from my friend and travel companion, Brittany.  She's finally taken the plunge and started a blog.  I know she's been wanting to do this for a long time, so I'm very excited that she's decided to start punching the keys for all the world to hear (that's just a little blogger humor, har har)!

Her blog is called Collected and Curated, and its a collection of all things great - travel, food, fashion, design, to name a few.  I strongly urge you all to bookmark this baby and read away.  Brit is always up on the latest trends, store openings and new restaurants, etc.  She won't disappoint.  

I'm so happy to have a blogging buddy to share coding gripes with now!  Finally someone who understands me.  Now go read it.


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Monday, March 19, 2012

Moroccan Pendant Fixture

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I bring you this next post!  As you know, I recently traveled to Morocco with my husband and friends.  While I was there, I fell in love with bronze light fixtures.  I have never seen anything like them before and they are simply breathtaking.  I brought back three different light fixtures, two of which I mentioned here.  The last one was a bit trickier to install, but we got it hung in our entry last week and it look amazing!

I'm gonna cut right to the chase.  Here is a photo of the newly installed pendant.  Gorgeous, right?

So here is how we did it.  We bought the bronze piece in Morocco, but there was no electrical piece attached to it.  We basically bought the diffuser with a bit of chain attached to the top.  

I'm sure there are lots of ways to do this, and I have no idea if this is the best way, but we decided to buy a light fixture, remove the diffuser and replace it with ours.  We got this one at Home Depot.  The kit came with a can light conversion kit, which was exactly what we needed.  We had an existing recessed downlight and instead of hard wiring the new fixture, we just used the conversion kit.

The piece below is attached to the underside of the trim ring.  You screw this into the down-light fixture and BAM, you just converted a down light into a pendant light.  I love easy things like this!  No electrical (shocks) work required!

And now, here are photos of the pretty little lady!  I love coming home at night and seeing the shadows all over the room.  

Close ups of the metal work:

Hanging in the space:

More close ups:

The space at night:

Thanks for reading!  I hope you're inspired to find some of these amazing fixtures for your own home.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Art Lovin

I've been home with the flu for the past few days and I've had loads of time to browse the internet (read:  add things to my Pinterest boards).  Between watching episodes of The View and Ellen, I managed to come up with some ideas for art projects in my house.  There are a couple of trends that I'm super in love with.

#1:  Subway Art
I love how versatile this is.  You can personalize these for any occasion or theme.  I really like this one below with all there different addresses.  I could fill up a few canvases with all the addresses I've had.  I also like the super cheesy 'Home is where the husband is'.  What can I say, I'm a sucker for cutesy sayings like that.

#2:  State Art
I've been looving these for some time now.  Maybe its because we've lived in a few states and I think it would be fun to make some sort of tribute to that.  Yep, actually, that's exactly why I love it.  I think these would also be super easy to create on your own - which is always a bonus in my mind.  Or if you'd like to purchase personalized state art check out these Etsy stores:  here and here.

#3:  Recycled Art 
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - anyone who knows me, knows I love being green.  If there was only some sort of art I could make with corks....hmmm.  These two ideas are super colorful and fun.  The first one is made from old magazines and the second one is made from paint chips - both of which I have more than i know what to do with.  This could be a fun project some rainy day.

Have you guys seen any interesting art out there?  I'd love to hear about it!


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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bronze Light Fixtures

One of the best things about our trip to Morocco was discovering the beauty of bronze light fixtures.  These fixtures were everywhere we went - the riads, the restaurants, even the bathrooms.  They're absolutely beautiful pieces of art and cast the most amazing shadows.  They create a fabulous mood in any space.  I've never seen a light fixture that can transform a space like these can.  Check out a few we spotted along the way.

This was in our first room in Fez:

This one I spotted while we were eating dinner one night:

These were in our room in Marrakesh:

These are some of the fixtures I spotted while shopping:

So of course, we had to buy some for our own house.  We were on a mission to buy these one day, so after some pretty intense bargaining we came home with two of these little guys and one hanging pendant which I'll tell you more about in a future post.

Unfortunately, they were wired with European fittings so we my husband had to do a little DIY-ing to get these to work right.  Thank goodness he was some kind of wire hacker in a previous life because he figured this out with no problems.  Here is a quick play by play.

Unscrew the plug and pull the prongs out, then unscrew the prongs and loosen the wires.  

Next take the open wires and tie them onto the American prongs, then fit the prongs into the plastic plug piece.  And waa-laa - you have a new plug that'll work in all your Americanized outlets.

And without further ado, here are our very own authentic Moroccan light fixtures.  (Can you tell how much I love them?)

A few close ups:

With the light on:

Here they are in there permanent home in our bedroom.  I'm in love with the shadows:

Looove looove looove!


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